How do insurance companies settle personal injury claims? Anyone who has been injured in an automobile accident will soon be dealing with insurance companies. You will also have to deal with insurance companies if you are the one who is at fault for the accident. In other words, any time you file a personal injury claim, you need to prepare to deal with insurance companies. When a claim gets filed, it is the claims adjuster that you will be working with. Let’s take a look at how the process works:
What is a claims adjuster?
As defined by the Collins dictionary, a claims adjuster is, “someone who’s employed by an insurance company to decide how much money a person making a claim should receive”. The success of a claims adjuster is judged by two things. Firstly, how much money they save or spend in settlements. Secondly, how quickly they settle a claim. The performance of a claims adjuster is also judged by how many claims they settle on their own. In other words, without involving supervisors or insurance company lawyers.
How does a claims adjuster prepare for an offer?
“How Do Insurance Companies Settle Personal Injury Claims?” To understand, we need to comprehend how a claims adjuster prepares for their offer. Here’s how:
1) Getting the full story.
The first step of the adjuster is to find out the full story. Generally speaking, they start with the story of the insured. During this time, the adjuster will read any police or accident reports. They will also speak with the insured to hear the story firsthand.
2) Digging up dirt.
Once the adjuster has gotten the story from the insured, they will next turn to the plaintiff. The goal here is to dig up as much dirt as they can. This will include information on whether or not the plaintiff has filed a claim before.
3) Requesting documentation.
Once the adjuster has all of the information, the next step is to write the plaintiff. If the plaintiff has a lawyer, all introductions get addressed to them. During this stage, there will be a request for documentation for anything related to the plaintiff’s claim. This can include things like medical records and bills, proof of wages, proof of property damage, etc.
4) Reviewing documentation.
How do insurance companies settle personal injury claims? Very carefully. And you can be assured that insurance companies have their adjusters review all documentation meticulously. In other words, they go through every detail of the case with a fine tooth comb. For example, if the adjuster suspects that the plaintiff had any prior injuries or conditions, all previous medical records will be requested. A good insurance adjuster will pick up on any holes in the claim.
5) Determining a settlement value.
Now that the adjuster has reviewed all documentation and information, it comes time to put a value on the case. Aside from the evidence provided, there are two other things that get considered in this process. Firstly, what are the plaintiffs chances of winning if it goes to trial? And secondly, how much would a jury award the plaintiff? For example, if the plaintiff has little chance of winning, the settlement offer will probably not be set very high.
6) Making the first offer.
Once there is a value on the case, the adjuster will offer a percentage of that amount as a settlement. In most cases, they offer approximately 40% of the case value. Having said that, all insurance companies differ in the exact offer percentage. Adjustments may also be made to this percentage depending on who the adjuster is dealing with. This is why it is so important to have a lawyer. If you don’t, insurance companies may make a smaller first offer. Someone with a well represented lawyer, on the other hand, will probably receive a more generous offer.
Once you have received your first settlement offer, you can decide whether you want to accept or not. If you hire a lawyer, they can help you to make this important decision. Should you decide not to accept, your lawyer can work with you to negotiate a settlement until you are happy with the amount.
We now know “How Do Insurance Companies Settle Personal Injury Claims?” Here are a few other things you need to know about insurance companies:
1) They want to give you as little money as possible.
Insurance companies will do as much as they possibly can to save themselves money. Insurance adjusters receive intense training on how to gather certain information from you. They will speak to you in a sympathetic and reassuring tone, but at the same time will use anything you say against you. Be careful what you say to insurance companies, and when possible, don’t speak to anyone without a lawyer.
2) They don’t want to work with lawyers.
Here are the facts – when you hire a lawyer, you’re likely to get more money out of your case. A lawyer is less likely to settle, and will work hard to get you as much money as possible. Obviously, this is in direct odds with the goal of the insurance company. In return, insurance companies will try to convince you to avoid hiring a lawyer. Don’t listen to them.
3) They are not always honest.
As we mentioned above, insurance companies will do anything they can to pay you as little as they can. This includes lying or bending the truth. Never take the word of an insurance adjuster at face value. Consult with a lawyer first.
Before starting any negotiations with an insurance company, speak to a lawyer first. At the 719 Pain hotline, we can find you a lawyer that knows exactly, “How Do Insurance Companies Settle Personal Injury Claims?” In return, they can help you get the settlement you deserve – not the settlement the insurance company wants to give you.